This morning I got up, showered, vacuumed, made coffee, and broke down a door. All before 10:00 a.m.
Yes. You read that correctly. I broke down my own front door.
Here’s how the conversation that led to this went:
Me: “Yeah. I’ll do that.”
As I was sitting on the couch, drinking my first cup of coffee, snuggling my toddler, and watching Thomas, I realized that I hadn’t yet cleaned the door.
(In case that picture wasn’t enough explanation, birds built a nest in the wreath on my front door. And then shat all over it. And since I never USE the front door, always entering and exiting through the garage, I rarely think about the bird shat that WAS on my front door but which is no longer there.)
So, I scooted Joshua to the next cushion, tucked him into his cuddle blanket, and said “Mama be right back.” And then I grabbed a couple of Lysol wipes and a paper towel and went to clean the door. But the only way to CLEAN the bird shat without getting it inside the house, was to shut the door.
So I did.
And then Joshua locked me out of the house.
And then he couldn’t unlock the door because he didn’t realize he’d locked it in the first place. He just knew I was on the other side of that door and he wasn’t with me.
My kid? Kind of a Mama’s boy. To the point that sometimes I can’t sleep in on Saturday mornings because he and I aren’t in the same room. So he started whining. And then he started crying. And wailing. And I am on the outside of the door going “Joshie, see that thing in the middle! Turn that!”
Yeah. That worked about as well as you imagine it did.
I tried using a bobby pin thinking I could pick the lock with it.
That also worked about as well as you imagine it did.
I felt little spikes of panic starting to creep up inside me. It was completely quiet in my cul-de-sac. Not a peep coming from anywhere or anything except my neighbor’s dogs. But, I walked to the neighbor’s house–barefoot–and knocked on the door.
So I knocked a little louder. Still no answer.
“One of their cars is in the driveway, but maybe it’s just the girls at home right now.”
So yeah, no answer. So I walked back over to my house and tried the front door again hoping Joshua had magically unlocked it.
So I went around to the sliding glass door off of our kitchen hoping, wishing, praying that we’d left it unlocked the last time we grilled.
I could see Joshua wandering around the living room crying “Maaaamaaaaaa….MAAAAAMAAAAAAA” because he couldn’t find me.
He was so, so scared. And the panic in my belly was getting stronger.
“Come to the door, Joshua! Come to the door!” I called. But he didn’t come. The dog did, and she looked at me with her sad puppy eyes in a complete state of confusion.
I saw a shovel and wondered if I could pry the door open. So I tried. But no, I couldn’t. Then I thought about using the shovel to smash a window. And then I thought of the mess that would make.
“Mama will be right back, Joshua,” I said, as though he could hear me over his crying.
I went back to the neighbor’s house. I knocked louder. I rang the bell. And still, no answer.
I went back to the front door and tried again. And no. Nothing. I could still hear him crying inside.
I pulled a screen off a front window hoping the window would be loose. No. And he was still crying, wandering around the rooms in our house, occasionally calling out for me.
I went to the back of the house again and I tore off another screen and grabbed the shovel and tried to pry the window up but it became clear that was not going to work either. So I went back to the sliding door and knocked on it, calling out Joshua’s name over and over until he came to me.
And finally, he did. He came to me. And there were tears streaming down his face like little rivers. He was so scared.
“MA MA!” Yes, Joshie, yes. Mama!
So I started tapping at the door near the handle, trying to get him to see the latch. Trying to get him to push it down so I could open the door.
In the back of my mind I was thinking “If he learns this there will be no containing him!” And I saw him toddling his way through our back yard on some tw-year-old’s adventure to nowhere.
And the other side of me thought “Get in the house NOW. Worry about safety-latching the sliding door later!”
“Mama, opuh!!” He said. And I said “Yes, Joshua, open!” And he tugged on the handle. I tried directing him again to the latch and again, he didn’t understand. He couldn’t see it.
“MA MA. OPUH” he demanded!
I patted and tapped and he cried. And then I began to cry. And I cried. And I cried. And I begged God to just let me get in my house. Please. Now.
The dog came to the window and Joshua, in his frustration, kicked and slapped at her with his two-year-old might, shouting “Annie NO!” And she just laid down and waited. And he cried out to me and reached for me and slapped the glass and wanted nothing more than to just have me.
“Mama UP!” he begged. Pleaded. And I pleaded more and put my face on the glass and begged, again, to just let me get back into my house.
I was there. But I wasn’t there. I was trapped on the other side of the glass door. So close. But so far away.
And Joshua in his inability to understand WHY I didn’t just pick him up, why I didn’t just take away his hurt and frustration, laid down in the floor by the door and curled up into a ball and cried into his hands and I knew that was it. I was getting into that house.
And that was the end of my lack of panic. I’d been calm for what I supposed amounted to 20 minutes but which felt like eternity.
I went back to the front door and tried the handle one last time. And then I leaned on the door to see how much give it had. Which turned out to be not much with just leaning on it.
So I grabbed the handle and slammed my body into the door, shoulder first. And I saw how much the force of my body caused the door to give at the top. So I slammed again and noticed that nothing was happening at the bottom of the door.
So I positioned my hip under my shoulders. And I slammed my body into the door again. And I saw there was giving.
I grabbed the doorknob again and slammed again. And again. I could hear Joshua’s cries in the living room. I knew he was close. I prayed he wasn’t standing directly behind the door. And I slammed again.
And then I heard wood crack, and I was in and he was in my arms in almost the same second. We collapsed. The two of us a mess of tears and fear on the floor in the foyer, leaning against a wall. Crying for ourselves and each other.
“It’s okay…it’s okay. Mama’s here now, Joshie. Mama’s here now.”
“Maamaaaa…” He handed me his sippy of milk and tried to share it with me, hoping it would calm my soul like my presence calmed his.
He put his head down and cried just a little more. And then he got up and held my hand and we closed the door.
He needed me. And I found a way to get there.